More like a honey-hued hamlet than a hotel, Thyme is scattered across stone farmhouses, cottages and barns in Southrop, one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds. It is run by the Hibbert family, who live in the manor next door, making you feel like you are staying in an extension of their home. Caryn is the founder and creative director, her son Charlie is head chef at the Ox Barn restaurant, while her daughter Camilla, is general manager and her co-creative brains behind Bertioli. It is these gorgeous products that are used in the small but perfectly formed Meadow Spa, where you can book in for a facial or massage, or take an autumnal dip in the outdoor pool. It is also home to the new Botanical Bothy, a singular space for private rituals where your therapist leads you through a journey powered by breath, scent, pressure point techniques and body brushing. Afterwards, deep in relaxation, you have time to luxuriate in a hot alfresco bath, before sitting by the outdoor fire with a thyme and honey tea. For the ultimate treat, make a weekend of it and book into English Rose, a dusky pink room with a fire in the bedroom and a vast bathroom with views towards an ancient cedar tree. From here, you’re perfectly placed to pop to Thyme’s cozy pub, The Swan, too.
The Newt, Somerset
A sprawling Somerset estate with a Georgian manor house built from burnt toffee stone, The Newt is undoubtedly one of England’s most luxurious spa stays. Surrounded by orchards, lakes, woodland, and lavish gardens that have been lovingly tended for 300 years, it is this staggering natural beauty that inspires and shapes its spa offering. Nestled in a former cow barn near the main house, there is a spectacular indoor/outdoor pool surrounded by a medieval herb garden, as well as a sauna, steam, and treatment rooms. Book in for the Garden Signature Body & Face Treatment, where you will help your therapist pick out the particular herbs used in your massage and facial. After an afternoon well spent in the spa, jump on a golf buggy back to the Farmyard, where our favorite rooms are. Set in the estate’s former dairy farm, it has its own bar stocked with booze from Babylonstoren, an all-day kitchen, and an indoor pool.
Lime Wood, Hampshire
Tucked in a 13th century hunting lodge in the New Forest, Lime Wood is the classic countryside hotel. Elegant but not stuffy, grand yet playful, and impressively friendly to all generations. Its huge spa, Herb House, is particularly beautiful, and is worth a visit in itself: the hydrotherapy pool with its massage stations and floor-to-ceiling glass views onto the trees is a particular delight; and a Bamford facial in one of the treatment rooms is hard to beat. After you have had your fill, it is time for a bath back in your lodgings (we love the courtyard rooms or the ultra-private lakeside cabin) before an aperitif in the covered courtyard. A good contender for the UK’s best countryside bar, it is just the ideal warm-up for a hearty, Italian-inspired dinner at Hartnett Holder & Co. If you can, try to save space for the tarte tatin for two.
Quintessentially British and steeped in history, Beaverbrook is like stepping back into a bygone era — one where Winston Churchill was a guest, alongside Liz Taylor and Ian Fleming. Set in a magnificent Surrey landscape, this decadent hotel is also home to a brilliant spa, which you enter through a colorful canopy of stained glass with a floral motif. In cooler months, there is a large indoor pool for relaxing lengths, whirlpools, saunas, and steam room - as well as plenty of spaces to relax and a pretty deli for light snacks. After time in the Coach House Spa, there is nothing left to do but sink into the glamorous corners of the house, before an evening that should start and end in Sir Frank’s bar, with a grilled Japanese feast in The Dining Room in between. For the ultimate luxurious stay, book into the Dowager’s Suite — the soft pink bathroom is to die for.